Tibet has had a long and varied history. Sources place the first inhabitance of Tibet around 3000BCE.
From then on Tibet has had a very rich cultural history. Moving forward to 9th Century CE we see the fragmentation of the great Tibetan empire. Prior to Buddhism the indigenous religion of Tibet was known as Bon; their practices centred on worship of dead kings as well as spirit possession, magic and the notion of reincarnation.
Buddhism itself was seen to appear relatively late within Tibet, King Songsten Gampo, after conversations with his wives, brought Buddhism to Tibet between approximately 616-640CE. Following the death of King Gampo Buddhism had a very rocky development, though finally gained recognition as the state religion in 779CE
Princess Kongyo of China, wife of King Songsten Gampo, was seen as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. She was said to have witnessed a Demoness that lay under Tibet and needed to be controlled in order to protect the Tibetan people. To control the Demon several temples, shrines and statues of the Buddha were placed at points throughout Tibet... These subdued the Demoness.
Tibetan Buddhism is seen to have four main schools of thought that are expressed within the country:
Nyinma-pa - School of Ancient Translations
Kagyu-pa - Lineage of the Buddha's Word
Sakya-Pa - Grey Earth
Gelug-pa - Way of Virtue
The final school; Gelug-pa, is associated with the first Dalai Lama (1391). The school itself focuses highly on scholarship and debate and was key in reintroducing Buddhism to the people of Mongolia.
With the invasion of the Red Army of China in the 1950s, many of the Tibetan people have left for other areas. Though through the diaspora of the Tibetan people, the message of Tibetan Buddhism has been successfully spread around the world. Part of what TSGY does is develop links with Tibetan Buddhist Centres within Yorkshire and nationally. We also have links with the Bhutan Nuns Foundation.